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2015/16 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CLAS3440 Understanding Aristotle's Poetics

20 creditsClass Size: 48

Module manager: Prof. Malcolm Heath
Email: m.f.heath@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2015/16

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Aristotle's Poetics is one of the most influential texts in the history of literary criticism, but there is still much disagreement about the interpretation of Aristotle's theory, and about its adequacy when applied to real poetic and dramatic texts. Aristotle's understanding of the function and value of poetry in human life is also a matter of debate. In this module, we shall try to make sense of Aristotle's theory of epic and tragedy, ask how well that theory works in practice, and consider why humans are poetical animals. The Poetics will be read in English translation (tr. M. Heath, Penguin Classics 1996); some prior knowledge of Homer and Greek tragedy will be an advantage, but is not essential. Assessment will be by coursework (semester 1) and exam (semester 2); the exam will include a prepared essay. The module is worth 20 credits and runs over 2 semesters, , with 19 lectures and an exam-preparation workshop, and a total of five seminars.

Objectives

On completion of this module, students should have:
(i) acquired an understanding of the theory of epic and tragedy in Aristotle's Poetics,
(ii) engaged with scholarly debates about the interpretation of the Poetics;
(iii) reflected on Aristotle's views on the function and value of poetry in human life;
(iv) critically evaluated Aristotle's theory through case-studies in its application;
(v) discussed these issues orally and in writing.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should (i) be familiar with the basic concepts of Aristotle’s theory of epic and tragedy; (ii) have an understanding the overall structure of the theory (taking account of debates about its interpretation); (iii) have critically evaluated Aristotle’s theory through case-studies in its application; (iv) reflected on Aristotle’s and their own views of the function and value of poetry in human life. They will have discussed these issues orally and in writing.

Skills outcomes
On successful completion of this module, students should be able to interpret and evaluate Aristotle's theory of poetry, and to explain and discuss the theory and its implications orally and in writing.


Syllabus

1. Aristotle's Poetics in its philosophical context: why are humans poetical animals?
2. Making sense of Aristotle's Poetics: the theory of epic and tragedy.
3. Evaluating Aristotle's theory of epic and tragedy: how well does it work in practice?

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Workshop11.001.00
Lecture191.0019.00
Seminar51.005.00
Private study hours175.00
Total Contact hours25.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Reading primary texts: 50
Lecture preparation: 19x1 = 19
Seminar preparation: 5x4 = 20
Essay 1: 16
Exam preparation: 70

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Seminar participation; semester 1 coursework.

Methods of assessment


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayShort reports on 2 key concepts (combined total 1500 words)30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)30.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated


Exams
Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Exam with advance information on questions3 hr 00 mins70.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)70.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 01/04/2015

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